Are there Any Growth Hormone Therapy Side Effects?

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Growth hormones are molecular chemicals that stimulate cell reproduction and growth. These chemicals are secreted endogenously by the pituitary gland. Growth hormones serve multiple roles and are essential in the process of all-round physiological growth. In cases where the pituitary gland malfunctions, causing reduced growth hormone secretion, growth hormone therapy can be undertaken.

Growth hormone therapy is a process whereby chemicals mimicking the process of endogenous growth hormones are externally administered to a patient, in order to boost or stimulate cell reproduction. Growth hormone treatments are generally prescribed to children or patients beyond the age of 35. The treatment needs to be prescribed by a qualified medical professional and must be monitored closely.

What does growth hormone therapy do?

Growth hormone therapy can have several positive effects on the physiological condition of a patient. Growth hormones stimulate a number of processes in the body, from muscle build-up to calcium retention. Growth hormone therapy is used to treat a number of conditions.

Adult onset growth hormone deficiency is a disorder many men and women experience. As the aging process takes hold the pituitary gland which secretes growth hormone becomes less productive. Low growth hormone levels can cause a multitude of mental, physical and sexual problems that impact quality of life.

Turner’s Syndrome and Prader-Willi Syndrome are both rare genetic disorders that growth hormone therapy is used to treat. Typically, patients suffering from these conditions experience loss of muscle, low rates of sex hormone secretion, unusual build-up of fatty tissue, and increased levels of hunger. Growth hormone treatments are also considered for child patients suffering from chronic kidney issues.

Among adults, the treatment is prescribed for patients suffering from Short Bowel Syndrome, a condition in which the digestive process is hindered due to inadequate nutrient absorption. As adults grow past the age of 50, treatments like testosterone replacement therapy are administered to help them increase muscle-build up, improve cholesterol levels, increase libido and sex drive, and reduce fatty tissue build-up.

Growth hormone therapy is sometimes described as an anti-aging treatment due to its positive effects on the physiological well-being of a patient. However, the extent to which the treatment is effective is still in debate.

What are the side effects of growth hormone therapy?

Growth hormone therapy, although prescribed and recommended by several doctors and medical professionals these days, can have numerous side effects, some more serious than others. It is always important to ensure that your doctor conducts a thorough examination of your physical and mental state before prescribing or administering the treatment. Regular patient monitoring needs to be taken. These side effects can be serious and harm a patient’s quality of life. However, in most cases when the patient reduces te dose side effects go away.

Let’s take a look at some common side effects of growth hormone treatments.

  • Many patients, children, and adults alike complain of muscle and joint aches as a result of growth hormone treatments. Since growth hormone treatments rapidly increase bone densities and muscle-build up, patients suffer from sore muscles and joints. This is a common side effect of the treatment but must be reported to a professional, if the pain persists.
  • Growth hormone injections are often touted as the most effective form of treatment. Several patients, though, may have reactions to the treatment at the injection site. Patients may suffer from swelling, redness, or discharge from the injection site. Patients must report these effects to a doctor at the earliest, so the treatment can be regulated, and alternative measures can be undertaken.
  • Patients, typically children, have been known to suffer from hypertension and headaches as a result of growth hormone therapy. An increased sensation of pressure on the brain can be known to induce vomiting and nausea.
  • One of the more serious conditions of human growth therapy is edema. Edema relates to the swelling of limbs or body parts due to increased fluid retention. The condition is treatable and stopping the hormone treatment has been known to reverse it.
  • Human growth therapy has been known to increase the risk of diabetes. Human growth therapy stimulates the process of gluconeogenesis. This is a process that increases blood sugar levels of a patient through increased glucose production. Patients with a history of diabetes must inform a doctor before the treatment is considered.